Image Credit: onefox
Would your children like the opportunity to get up close, to stroke and even to feed animals such as sheep, cows, chickens, goats and pigs as well as more exotic animals from llamas and Shire horses to chinchillas?
Farm Parks, Childrens Farms and Petting Farms are more than just a great day out for all the family, with the chance to meet lots of cute animals (although that sounds pretty good to me) - many provide educational resources, and carry out important work conserving rare breeds.
Many of the farm parks themselves offer much more than just animals encounters, with play areas, tractor rides, playbarns and fun activities for kids during school holidays, along with themed events for Halloween, Easter and Christmas.
Here is a round up of the best Farm Parks in the UK. Many are approved by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST), a conservation charity working to restore Britain’s native livestock breeds to their rightful place in our countryside.
Odds Farm Park have horses, cows, sheep, rabbits, pigs and goats. Activities include bottle feeding lambs, milking, sheep racing in the summer and tractor rides.
There are lots of play areas including an outdoor play area, a fabulous indoor playbarn with giant slides and climbing frames (it's worth a visit just for that!) plus a crazy golf course, go-karts and pedal tractors for the little ones.
Related: A Day Out at Odds Farm Park
South of England Rare Breeds Centre let you meet pigs, goats, lambs and cows, see pig racing, bitterfly tunnel, two adventure play parks and a soft play barn.
You can explore the 100 acre farm, (including the brass rubbing trails through the Rainbow Wood - can you find the Giants?) on to the Aerial Assault Course at the Mysterious Marsh, Big Red Trailer Rides, Tube Maze and Hill Fort. And don't miss the Pig Racing through the Summer months!
Image Credit: livin4wheel
White Post Farm is the place to hold a baby animal, meet a newt or bottle feed a goat! Events are held throughout the year, plus the Sledge Run Experience and soft play area. As well as meeting the animals, you can zoom around on go-karts, catch a seasonal show, do a little shopping or even pick up a new pet!
Fishers Farm Park is a three times award winning attraction with a huge variety of animals, Ice-Skating, Toboggan Run, Combine Harvester Rides, Adventure Golf, Ghost Tunnel Ride, Jumping Pillows, Theatre Shows, Climbing Wall, and the Jolly Jumbos playbarn.
The list of animals you can see is fantastic - from Alpacas, Shire Horses and Shetland Ponies to Cockatoos, Tortoises and Chinchillas.
Animal Farm Adventure Park have donkeys, Shetland Ponies, goats, llamas, Highland and Jersey cattle, and rare breed sheep. There is also a playbarn, adventure playground and land train. They encourage you to meet the amiable farm animals, who love to be fed by guests they love you to pet the cattle!
This year they have a new ride in the adventure park, the Caterpillar Coaster! This joins the bouncy castle, zip wire and lots of fun rides that you can go on here.
Matlock Farm Park is set in part of a 600 acre working farm, the park has llamas, goats, peacocks and red deer, as well as smaller cuddly animals to pet. You can learn more about meerkats tin daily talks, take short pony rides are on most days and you can have a free bet on the ferret races! With a variety of play equipment, go-carts, a lovely café and a shop to browse, you can even get in the saddle at the riding school and trekking centre, offering riding to all abilities.
Mead Open Farm have rabbits to cuddle, cows to milk and greedy sheep and goats to hand feed. Combined with go karts, an outdoor log play adventure and sheep racing, plus special events including a reptile roadshows.
Indoors, children will have a fantastic time in Shaggy’s PlayWorld, with its massive playframe packed with fun things to do for older kids, while Mini Moo’s Imagination Village and soft play area for Under 5’s provides fun for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
Image Credit: edryder
Cholderton Charlies Farm Park Rabbits, Sheep, Goats, Exmoor Ponies, Chickens and turkeys and pigs. Plenty of play areas, pig racing and tractor trailer rides. Alomg with the indoor three-storey Playbarn, They also have the new Tree Top Trail - starting off low and going up over 32 feet into the woodlands, it is over 500 feet long!!
With over 40 different breeds of animals on the farm, and a fantastic variety of breeding programmes, you’ll be sure to find an animal you love.
Croxteth Park Farm, Liverpool is a traditional Victorian farmyard which is home to an important collection of rare farm breeds. Learn about modern farming, see cows, pigs, horses, sheep and a small animals collection.
Croxteth Park Farm is the only RBST approved conservation park within the North West of England. They have a programme of special events throughout the year.
Cotswold Farm Park was founded by the father of Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, and has an unrivalled collection of rare breeds of British farm animals including sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, horses, poultry and waterfowl. Outdoor and indoor animal displays and daily demonstrations.
They also have play areas for the kids, rare trails and farmyard safaris.
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Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park have donkeys, pigs, sheep, goats, rare breed cattle, Shetland ponies, Welsh mountain ponies and rabbits along with some friendly animals from further afield, such as, Vietnamese pigs (Kune Kune pigs) and piglets, emus and Llinos the llama.
Since it's coastal you could also see bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic grey seals, seal pups, harbour porpoises, sea-birds, rare choughs and skylarks.
About eParenting: eParenting was started by Jacqui O'Brien in 2004. At the time her kids were 1 and 4 and kept her nice and busy. Now they are teenagers and still keeping her pretty busy!